Russian state media are calling for grotesque “rewards” for Ukrainian war criminals

This story contains graphic descriptions and pictures.

While most of the world gasped at the latest atrocities committed by invading Russian troops in Ukraine, Kremlin propagandists and government officials only doubled down. The shocking footage of the massacre in the Ukrainian city of Bucha was repeatedly broadcast this week on Russian state television with the on-screen label “Fake”.

During the airing of the state television program on Monday 60 minutes, hostess Olga Skabeeva speculated that the city was chosen for an elaborate invention because of its name. “Biden said Putin was a butcher. Bucha sounds like “butcher”. How could they not take advantage of such a city?” She later added, “President Putin described them all as “the realm of lies,” and here is our confirmation.”

The so-called “lies” Skabeeva is referring to are scenes of unspeakable horror discovered by Ukrainian troops who arrived in Bucha this weekend after the Russian army withdrew from the city. Scores of bodies, including women and children, lay scattered in streets and courtyards, many with their hands tied behind their backs and signs of rape or torture.


Bodies of five men are pictured as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues in the town of Bucha, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, April 4, 2022.

REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Russian state media churned out ludicrous claims, claiming in part that the bodies of women and children depicted in the Bucha footage — some of whom were charred beyond recognition — “moved their arms,” “limbs out of the way evacuated to avoid”. the wheels of military vehicles” or even “get up and walk away”.

While scenes from Bucha made headlines around the world, Interfax published a report on a ceremony conducted by the Russian military on April 2, at which several awards were presented to the Airborne Troops (VDV) of the Russian Federation in the Kyiv region. According to the state TV channel Zvezda, this unit was involved in “holding back the actions of enemy forces” and “cleaning up settlements” in Bucha.

“In the Kyiv region, in the area where the tasks of forming the Airborne Forces were carried out, the allocation of Russian paratroopers took place. The commander of the formation presented state awards to soldiers who distinguished themselves in combat operations during this special military operation,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on the awards.

The same day, the media Ria fan published the names of seven Russian soldiers in its Z Heroes list. The state television program Vesti Nedelimoderated by Dmitry Kiselyov, presented the medals awarded to the invading forces: “For Courage”, “Suvorov” and “Zhukov”.

Immediately participant of the state TV show Sunday evening with Vladimir Soloviev jumped up to shower Russian troops with praise and demanded various rewards and bonuses, from debt relief to pay rises. Instead of shaming the murderers of Ukrainian civilians, Mikheyev loudly protested: “We must support them!” He added: “We must increase their salaries because they are risking their lives! Your consumer debt should be written off… During the war we must support the Russian warrior.”

Despite overwhelming evidence of the massacre, the Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that “not a single local in Bucha” was harmed while the city was under the control of Russian forces. In his meeting with UN Deputy Secretary-General Martin Griffiths on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the extensive evidence of Russian war crimes as “a street staging” used “for anti-Russian purposes”.

There is no shortage of corpses there.

On the same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed: “From what we have seen, the video footage cannot be trusted in many respects because our Defense Ministry specialists have identified signs of video fraud and all sorts of forgeries.” The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the Videos of Bucha were “fake and a provocation” and claimed Russian troops left Bucha on March 30 The New York Times confirmed that the bodies of massacred civilians lay in the streets of Bucha for weeks while the city was in full control of Russian troops.

Meanwhile, host Vladimir Soloviev angrily shouted on his Sunday show that the West’s goal is the total destruction of Russia. He demanded: “Do not stand in the way of the work of our army at all levels! Free their hands!” Political scientist Sergey Mikheyev then chimed in with his own take on Bucha: “Maybe it’s a production, or maybe they brought the bodies from somewhere else. There is no shortage of corpses there. There are no problems with [getting] Corpses.”

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